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Bristol School Exclusion Statistics Updated for Spring 2021/22

The latest data for school exclusions across England has been released by the Department for Education (DfE). This month, it’s the exclusion data for the spring term of 2021/22.

We’ve pulled out the Bristol data and popped it into the tables below for a breakdown of what is being reported by schools to the DfE. The information is based on data which is collected through the school census.

The data includes the number and percentage of permanent exclusions (PEX) as well as suspensions – and the number of pupils receiving one or more suspensions. It also includes the reason for exclusions as well as a breakdown of pupil characteristics.

We started off looking at all Bristol schools to see which ones are excluding and how many times they are doing it. The data is in tables exactly as the DfE released it and with the language and pupil characteristics descriptions used by the DfE.

This specific term’s highest school exclusions data shows the highest number of exclusions from the following schools:

Permanent Exclusions:
New Fosseway School: 1
Blaise Primary and Nursery School: 1
Sea Mills Primary School: 1

Highest Number of Suspensions Overall
Bedminster Down: 319
Oasis Brightstowe: 298
Bridge Learning Campus: 211
Blaise High School: 211
Bristol Brunel Academy: 165

Highest Number of Suspensions Secondary
Bedminster Down: 319
Oasis Brightstowe: 298
Bridge Learning Campus: 211
Blaise High School: 211
Bristol Brunel Academy: 165

Highest Number of Suspensions Primary
Parson Street Primary School: 24
Henbury Court Primary Academy: 14
Cathedral Primary School: 10
St Werburgh’s Primary School: 9
Cabot Primary School: 9
Little Mead Primary Academy: 8
St Peter’s Church of England Primary School VC: 8

Highest Number of Suspensions Specialist
Knowle DGE Academy: 24
North Star 240: 20
Emfield School for Deaf Children: 7

The full list of every Bristol school with their exclusion data for the spring term 2021/22:

When it comes to PEX rates, Bristol is below the England national average overall. But it is higher than the national average for exclusions from specialist schools.

When it comes to the suspension rate, Bristol soars above the England national average. The rate of suspension in Bristol specialists is very high compared to the national average. The rate of primary school suspensions is also above the national average. But the rate of secondary school exclusions is shocking. The England average stands at a rate of 4.88, with Bristol’s rate being 8.39.

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The number of Permanent Exclusions (PEX) is also starting to creep back up in Bristol.

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Here the exclusions are broken down into the terms of each academic year. Care is always advised when comparing the academic year 2019/20 and 2020/21 because this is when school attendance was impacted by Covid and closures. It is very clear to see here that PEX are not slowing down. And the number of exclusions is the highest it’s been over three academic years for this term.

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For those who like to go back even further, the number of suspensions in the spring term of 2021/22 is even worse than that of 2016/17, the years impacted by Bristol City Council’s unlawful interpretation of the legal requirement of Education Health Care Needs Assessments.

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Back to the spring term of 2021/22, persistent disruptive behaviour was the main reason for a pupil being suspended. This came to 1377 exclusions out of a total 2,578.

The second highest reason was verbal or threatening behaviour against an adult – a total of 362. Then physical assault against a pupil – a total of 333.

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In specialist schools, the main reason for suspensions was physical assault against an adult – a total of 25. Followed by persistent disruptive behaviour – a total of 20. It raises questions as to why pupils with an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) are being permanently excluded or suspended at a higher rate in Bristol than in England. With an EHCP, Pupils should have support to meet their needs and plans should be fully funded by the Local Authority in which to do so.

For primary school exclusions, 84 suspensions were for persistent disruptive behaviour, 70 for physical assault against an adult and 48 for physical assault against a pupil.

For secondary, 1,273 suspensions were for persistent disruptive behaviour, 328 for verbal or threatening behaviour against an adult and 276 for physical assault against a pupil.

The age of pupils being suspended in school escalates in secondary school. The trend begins at age 11, peaking at age 14 before reducing again. But in this term, 12 pupils aged four years and under were also suspended from school.

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Exclusion is disproportionately hitting high numbers of pupils from Black African communities as well as those from Gypsy and Roma communities.

And Pupils eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) also received a disproportionate number of suspensions – almost double that of pupils who do not have the entitlement. The numbers of specialist school pupils eligible for FSM who are being suspended is also very high.

Whilst there are high numbers of female pupils receiving suspensions, it is disproportionately male pupils who are being sent home.

The data around Send exclusions is contentious. Although it details the number of suspensions of pupils with ‘no SEN’, there has been a history in Bristol of failing to identify pupils with Send in a timely manner.

Ofsted and CQC said this was a ‘significant weakness’ in the 2019 inspection, which this period of time falls into. In their joint Send inspection of the Local Authority, they talked in their report of ‘the inconsistencies in the timeliness and effectiveness of the local area’s arrangements for the identification and assessment of children and young people with SEND.’

There has also been a crisis in waiting times for autism assessments, ADHD assessments and access to community paediatricians in Bristol, meaning that there are many children and young people in the city who have not even been identified or assessed.

Even so, there were 997 pupils with identified Send who were suspended in this term. Two of the three PEX were of pupils who have Send – one of whom was in a specialist provision.

What this data doesn’t tell us

Exclusion data should be used with care. Although care is advised by the DfE when comparing data across the academic years affected by the global pandemic, the data does not reveal the full picture of what’s happening in schools.

It doesn’t show any of the following things:

– Off rolling
– Managed Moves
– Unlawful Exclusions which don’t make the official data
– Internal Exclusions which don’t make the official data
– Part Time Timetables
– Pushed into AP
– Pushed into Home Education
– Pushed into Education Other Than At School
– Being sent home for having the wrong shoes or uniform
– Being sent home for having the wrong shoes or uniform as a result of disability or socioeconomic status
– Being sent home because of disability discrimination due to their Special Educational Need or Disability
– Being sent home due to unidentified SEND
– Being sent home due to systemic racism – including hair discrimination
– Abuse against disabled pupils is often not seen as severe due to systemic discrimination and ablest insults embedded in language largely used outside of the disabled and neurodivergent communities

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